Elizabeth Serra’s short film “A Made Bed,” winner of the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Broad Humor Film Festival, is firmly planted in her own “special brand of weird, dark comedy.”
The short stars Serra’s mother — SAG card-carrying actress Amanda Serra who has acted in shows including Criminal Minds, Celebrity Ghost Stories, and Netflix’s Love — alongside Heather Marie Roberts and Cecelia Trone.
“The first time I had mom as one of my actors was during my student film days, and then she started showing up in all of them,” Elizabeth Serra laughs.
Following the story of a hilarious misunderstanding about what strange beings are lurking beneath a little girl’s bed, “A Made Bed” was a perfect match for the Broad Humor Film Festival, which had its 15th annual festival earlier this month. In addition to the Grand Jury Prize, the Serras also took home a $500 cash prize from the Chimaera Project, which is dedicated to empowering women and non-binary filmmakers by helping them make their projects.
“We’ve always had a top award but this time we had a cash prize. We’ve been around for a long time, but this is still a relatively small festival, so our resources are limited. I just really want to say thank you to the Chimaera project and I’m so grateful that we’re able to give the inaugural award to ‘A Made Bed’ because it’s awesome,” said Michelle Clay, executive director and senior programmer of Broad Humor, which focuses on comedic movies written and directed by women.
“I like it weird. This was right up my alley, and fortunately, all the other judges felt exactly the same way,” Clay added. “I’ve been running the festival for six years now, after six years of watching comedy films, I’ve never seen anything like it… it was really cool. It was simple in its execution and really solid in its acting.”
When it comes to working with her family, Elizabeth Serra doesn’t limit it just to her mother. Her sister, Victoria Serra, served as film editor on “A Made Bed.” And Elizabeth Serra is responsible for other shorts that she’s written and directed over the years, including “Hanako” and “Skin Deep.”
“It does make directing sometimes a little tricky because they’re my family, so sometimes I can be a little too hard on the person versus the other actors, who I’m like, ‘Oh, like, you’re doing great. The camera loves you.’ ‘Mom, I need you to stop mugging for the camera,'” she laughs. “I know that I can give her a direction, and she’s not gonna walk out. I mean, I know where she lives,” Elizabeth Serra laughs.
Not only did Amanda Serra act in her daughter’s film, but she’s also a producer.
“She was pulling double duty,” Elizabeth says. “It’s a little bizarre because growing up, she was the director, essentially, of my life… and so now, in a way, the roles have been flipped. So she’s trusting me, which means a lot.”
“Elizabeth is a very good director,” Amanda Serra says. “We have a good time on set.”
Main Image: Cecelia Trone as Maddie in A Made Bed courtesy of Elizabeth Serra.